Rays sign three Minor Leaguers

Rays sign three Minor Leaguers

ST. PETERSBURG -- A dormant offseason ended on Friday, as the Rays brought three Minor Leaguers into the fold.

The Rays agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Jason Childers on a Minor League contract, and re-signed right-hander Jeremy Cummings and outfielder/first baseman Chris Richard to Minor League contracts. All three received invitations to Spring Training.

Childers, 33, was an International League midseason All-Star in 2008 for the White Sox Triple-A affiliate, the Charlotte Knights, going 4-2 with a 1.22 ERA while converting all 17 save chances. In addition, he held opponents to a .167 average. His only Major League experience came with the Rays in 2006, when he made five relief appearances after making the club out of Spring Training.

Cummings, 32, spent the 2008 season with Triple-A Durham, where he went 8-3 with a 2.87 ERA and was an International League All-Star. He won a bronze medal as a member of the U.S. Olympic baseball team in Beijing, compiling a 1.80 ERA in five innings of relief. He pitched briefly for a professional team in Taiwan before signing with the Rays on May 12.

Richard, 34, spent the entire 2008 season with Durham, hitting .293 with an organization-leading 26 home runs and 88 RBIs. He was named an International League All-Star, and he was the Rays' Minor League Player of the Month in May. He has a .258 career average with 34 homers and 122 RBIs in parts of four Major League seasons with the Cardinals, Orioles and Rockies.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.